“People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad.”

Okay, kids, I’ll be fast. Promise.

Back in 1968 I started what would turn out to be something of a musical ‘affair’ when I noticed an LP cover in the window of Barker’s book and record store in Leeds. The album was PROJECTIONS by The Blues Project, the key element (or so it would turn out) of which was guitarist/organist Al Kooper, perhaps best known for putting the organ on Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ thereby pretty much changing the course of rock music as a result.’

That’s just a bit of background: soon, now.

Kooper drifted on to—and off of (but mostly ‘on to’)—my record, cassette and CD equipment over the intervening half-century (I never cottoned on to eight-tracks) producing—aside from his own work, most notably the debut (and best) album by Blood, Sweat and Tears—long playing records from the likes of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Don Ellis, Johnny Van Zant, Eddie and the Hot Rods, the Joe Ely Band, Nils Lofgren, The Tubes, Bob Dylan and many more . . . And he’s appeared on an absolute multitude of other artists’ work, all of which I’ve damn near religiously purchased down the years.

Minutes away now . . .

Let’s face it, Kooper is da man as far as I’m concerned. And back in 1994 it turned out that Kooper was da man as far as Stephen King was concerned as well, as evidenced by the sleeve notes he provided for Al’s underrated 1994 album, REKOOPERATION.

And when I was trawling through the internet for things I might use in this week’s newsletter—and folks, let me tell you that word’s gotten out already—I came across a whole heap of musical quotes including Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’, Bob Dylan’s ‘Shelter From The Storm,’ Paul Simon’s ‘American Tune,’ Chuck Berry’s ‘Back In The USA,’ The Drifters’ ‘Stand By Me,’America’s ‘Sandman’ and . . . ‘Baby Can You Dig Your Man’ by Larry Underwood. Unlike the other pieces/artists in that list, Larry Underwood is a creation of the author, while the song is a creative collaboration between the author and none other than Al Kooper.

Ain’t it good when it all comes together like that? Doesn’t happen often but when it does . . .

Now there’s just this: I’ve been re-reading THE STAND—still astonishing more than forty years on—since Don Maitz agreed to tackle the art chores . . . and I didn’t even have to beg.

And where I said a few lines back that Kooper pretty much changed the course of music, remember? Well, King pretty much changed the course of horror fiction in much the same way. And it just keeps on getting better. Okay, okay . . . so maybe you already read it. But you haven’t read it like this monster is gonna be . . . three huge volumes in one slipcase, ground-breaking paintwork from Don—like Wow!

I’ve played lots of Kooper plus all the songs mentioned in the book repeatedly including several others (I’m playing ‘Sandman’ while I type: “Ain’t it foggy outside / All the planes have been grounded.”) and, you know, kids, there’s really not much else I want to add—now how often do you hear me say that!

Not only has Don been drip feeding us with choice bits of art along the way, he's also sent some images that give us a fascinating insight into his modus operandi. Can't wait to see the finished pieces!

The order page is now up and live on the website.

It’s really important that you order your copy of THE STAND from the same person/place that you ordered your copy of THE TOMMYKNOCKERS from, particularly if you want the same number on the signature sheet.

If you ordered a copy of THE TOMMYKNOCKERS from us (PS) and have ordered THE STAND and want the same number again then please send me a very brief email with your name; order number and requested number.

If you don’t want any particular number then your order will secure you a copy.

Okay, I’m done. Here’s Nicky.

Just a little bit of news and production updates starting with this from John Langan’s summary of 2018 in horror in LOCUS.

2018 also saw the completion of a pair of trilogies. Ramsey Campbell’s The Way of the Worm concluded the narrative that had begun with The Searching Dead and continued through Born to the Dark, the three books comprising a sequence Campbell christened The Three Births of Daoloth. A return to and a revisioning of some of his earliest imaginings, the trilogy is a kind of autobiography of its protagonist, in which his lifelong struggle with a supernatural agency occurs against the backdrop of post-war British history. The result is a magisterial work, though such a description scants the novels’ propulsive readability. It’s another remarkable achievement in a career full of them.

Finally, PS Publishing added new titles to their Midnight Movie Monographs: John Connolly writing on Horror Express, Tim Lucas on Spirits of the Dead, and Tim Major on Les Vampires. Bringing together a mix of fiction writers and critics to consider horror films ranging from the early years of cinema to more recent fare, the series has been interesting and entertaining; happily, more entries are on the way.

Thanks, John.

New arrivals!

We now have copies of the signed slipcased edition of Richard Chizmar’s THE LONG WAY HOME ready to start posting out. We’ll be preparing the orders this weekend and some copies will be posted at the beginning of next week and then the rest will be posted the week after. Bear with us as we are a little short on staff in the wrapping and packing department this coming week.

The beautiful (not that I’m biased or anything!) unsigned editions of AEOTA by Paul Di Filippo; AUTUMN PROSE, WINTER VERSE by Mark Steensland and LOST AMERICANS by Joseph Burt have now been posted.

And now back to Pete who’s still playing music . . .

Thanks Nicky and thanks to all you folks out there who have supported us tirelessly. You make the whole damn thing worthwhile. Enjoy this crazy weather we’re having, stay clear of the Trashman and look after each other. And happy reading.

Hugs from the greensward . . .


PS Publishing

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United Kingdom